I can neither answer yes nor no to Matthew Laverack (Letters, January 22).

Mr Laverack fails to understand that peoples’ circumstances can change – national statistics show that more than half of the UK’s population is one pay-packet away from losing their home.

Mr Laverack also assumes that those in poverty with televisions and tattoos have been out and bought them while in poverty. Has he not considered that they could have been bought when in employment or that they were a gift?

I would also point out that it is not so easy for many to stop smoking –nicotine is a drug and many people cannot just give up, which his letter seems to suggest.

Unless you actually speak to those in poverty, and understand their struggles, you cannot make such sweeping comments on appearance or possessions.

We need to understand that those in poverty today cover the range of social classes, yet those who comment on poverty unnecessarily seem to castigate just one.

Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing Deputy leader, City of York Council, Chair health and wellbeing board.